I’ll be honest with you, the only reason I use IMDb for is the Parents Guide section, so I could decide whether to watch a movie or not, depending on the circumstances. The ratings in my opinion amount to barely any level of significance because it’s an open portal and every person has the freedom to rate a film there, every person, including people who walk out of a theatre 5 minutes before the movie ends so that they wouldn’t have to be a part of the rush. Now before someone brings up the fundamental right of democracy, let me remind you every person has the right to opine but that doesn’t mean he/she is correct. IMDb, quite obviously has a lot of movies that are either overrated or underrated, and since it’s of no use trying to convince most people that they may have rated a movie better than it deserves, I’ll be concentrating on movies that were neglected or suffered unfair criticism.
Now, going by statement, my opinions are influenced by my taste, which may quite naturally go down well with you. But I’ve tried to include movies that do excel in some aspect or the other. And since IMDb scores keep varying, there’s a decent possibility that a movie on this list might have a 6+ rating when you read it, due to many movies being rediscovered. So here is the list of top movies with an IMDb Rating of 6.0 or less.
15. Nightmares Come At Night (1970) – 5.0
Though Jesus Franco was famous for his sexploitation films, especially ‘Ilsa the Wicked Warden’ and ’99 Women’, like most of his Italian horror contemporaries, he had a great vision for displaying horror with aesthetic qualities of a remarkable painter. The logic in his movies barely makes sense but the visuals attract even the strongest minds into experiencing his tales of weird sexual fantasies. This erotic thriller is graced by a very inventive opening credits sequence, and then ventures on to become a hypnotic compilation of different fragments laced by Franco’s constant element of nudity. I would only suggest this to people who’re aware of Franco’s style.
14. What The Peeper Saw (1971) – 5.9
For quite some time, ‘What The Peeper Saw’ was considered a video nasty because of its incestuous scenes and its shocking plot premise as well. The movie features a young boy who sexually manipulates his stepmom after his mother passes away under mysterious circumstances, and these scenes were considered very obtrusive. This is a very fine murder mystery which fell victim to people only concentrating on the explicitness and B-grade production value. Imagine ‘The Omen’, but replace the supernatural with some slasher and psychological elements, and another great cameo of Britt Ekland’s anatomy.
13. Barbarella (1968) – 5.9
I remember watching Barbarella in 9th grade for all the wrong reasons, but despite its eye candy visuals, this is probably the ‘Dr Strangelove’ of sci-fi and earlier erotic comedies. The only person who’d find this boring is one who watches Bela Tarr to pump up his testosterone levels before going out on a date with Maria Falconetti. I can assure you the title sequence itself is enough to warrant a score of 6, as Jane Fonda performs the most exquisite strip tease ever put on the big screen. The visuals are quite stunning and though it couldn’t have possibly matched 2001 : A Space Odyssey, it was never meant to and remains a great pulp comic set in space.
12. Quintet (1979) – 5.2
Robert Altman was along with David Lynch, the finest visionaries of American contemporary cinema after the New Wave. So it is disappointing to never see his name mentioned in the same league, primarily because of critics who fail to assess a film as an individual piece of art. Altman never had a great rapport with audiences, some of his 70’s films were huge success but I don’t think most of them bothered to appreciate his intelligent subversive humor. ‘Quintet’ was a very different film, it was subversive but not humorous and probably along with the likes of ‘3 Women’ and ‘The Long Goodbye’ was his bleakest idea. ‘Quintet’ may have inspired ‘Battle Royale’, ‘The Running Man’ and ‘Death Race’ as it revolves around a deadly game in a dead world. The pacing is pretty slow and the world Altman creates is simply too sullen to support anyone, if they even survive the game but that’s where Paul Newman slots in with a very effective performance, as usual.
11. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) – 4.0
It can be argued that Ed Wood was an artist who strived for campiness in his films, something that 80’s horror movies are credited for. He didn’t necessarily parodied any work, but deconstructed the elements of 50’s horror genre with this film, or else that interesting take on nuclear warfare and man’s exploitation of science wouldn’t have existed. The film is also noted for its visibility of set equipment, which had unfortunately arose because the film wasn’t played in the right aspect ratio. The film does have awful dialogues, appalling acting, horrendous production design but despite its countless flaws, not for a moment is it cringy or boring. It’s a film you’d never be disappointed to have spent your time and money on, and it also has Bela Lugosi’s last performance before the legendary vampire’s death.
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10. 1941 (1979) – 5.9
It was surprising to see a Spielberg film with a rating below 6, considering how loved he is, especially on iMDb. ‘1941’ is in no way a bad film, it’s great, but it’s not as funny and touching as Spielberg’s 80’s works or the similar satirical pieces from 70’s and isn’t as thrilling as ‘Jaws’ or ‘Duel’. The cast that boasts of Christopher Lee, John Candy, Toshiro Mifune, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd is worthy of admission alone. The movie depends totally on Spielberg’s ability and humorizes actual events that took place during 1942, and I guess the movie suffered because of the inadequacy of interest it generates.
9. The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) – 5.9
Wim Wenders has directed some of the best movies ever made; ‘Wings of Desire’ and ‘Paris, Texas’ and with a script written by Bono, this did sound very tricky and in fact is a movie that cannot be narrowed down to any genre. It’s very weird as it mixes elements of mystery and melodrama, there’s comedy too but it’s a very interesting watch for people who like the unusual. It was suggested to me by a friend, and as he says it’s quite a “hit or miss” movie as some people would feel it stir their souls while others would be irritated by how bizarre it is, including the dialogues.
8. The Last House On The Left (1972) – 6.0
Though ‘The Last House On The Left’ might not be a film that encompasses the themes Wes Craven came to be known for, it remains one of the most important films of all time. Craven was always interested with reality and connected fictional worlds with real ones in his masterpieces of horror. Here, instead of fusing a parallel reality, he takes realism to an extent where it surpasses or any genre to be honest. It’s just a harrowing experience that is difficult to digest even with a gallon of lubricant, you just have to exit it, either by walking out or by assuring yourself “it’s only a movie”.
7. Universal Soldier (1992) – 6.0
Throughout his career, Jean Claude van Damme was unfairly criticized for being a Schwarzenegger wannabe and it’s beyond me how the same critics could hate his work and lavish praise on the Marvel and Fast and Furious franchisees about how they’ve redefined entertainment. ‘Universal Soldier’ is a great action B-movie, very well aware of its motives and doesn’t squander its time on a structured plot or introspective themes. It’s pure entertainment with its hard ass hero-villain duo of Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren who trash talk and never look out of place in the over the top action sequences.
6. Only God Forgives (2013) – 5.7
I’d only suggest this movie to people who are aware of Nicholas Winding Refn’s earlier meditative work including the ‘Pusher’ films and ‘Valhalla Rising’ that are dominated by heavily stylized visuals, very heavy symbolism that you need to force yourself to understand because of its complexity, left completely unaided by the implicit narrative. I’m a fan of visuals dominated films and Refn dares to induce themes no other contemporary filmmaker does, especially the deconstruction of the macabre existence of humans, inspired by surrealist master Alejandro Jodorowsky. This came out 2 years after ‘Drive’, which was Refn’s most accessible film and viewers expected a similar film with Gosling’s inclusion and the visuals resembling Drive.
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5. Number Seventeen (1932) – 5.8
‘Number Seventeen’ is one of Hitchcock’s earliest works and is less Hitchcockian than your average modern day thriller, and I would only suggest this one to film enthusiasts who are interested in the films that lied somewhere between Expressionist cinema and the film noir of the 40’s. Though many people associate Hitchcock with suspense, he was equally intelligent at blending that with witty humor. Number 17 was termed a disaster by Hitch himself but its a really good movie that induces its oddball comedy through editing techniques, resembling Guy Ritchie and Edgar Wright’s work.
4. Snake Eyes (1998) – 5.9
In his earlier days, Brian De Palma was infamous for blatantly trying to be a modern Hitchcock, with the English director’s presence felt in most of his movies. I personally think that is unhealthy criticism as De Palma crafted some of the finest thrillers before moving onto draggy stuff like ‘Scarface’. ‘Snake Eyes’ is intelligently inspired by some of Hitchcock’s latter works, including ‘Vertigo’, where the mystery is solved halfway through the movie and what most audiences missed is that it doesn’t pertain itself with the killer as much as it does with the people involved in the mess.
3. Krull (1983) – 6.0
Peter Yates might not be very famous, but he has some of the finest films from the 60’s to 80’s, with two of my personal favorites, ‘Bullitt’ and ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ (which I rate higher than The Godfather, because I’ve always loved and hated Mitchum’s nuanced character). I’d have been startled by Yates directing something like Krull if it wasn’t for the movie’s unfair treatment by audiences. ‘Krull’ fits perfectly into the 80’s scenario; magical set design, a fantasy cum sci-fi world, campy but fun special effects, memorable score and engaging fable-like characters but I cannot wrap my head around its failure. Maybe its timing was wrong, with movies like Star Wars and E.T, different idea of sci-fantasy was evolving among audiences, but whatever it was Krull soon developed a cult following.
2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) – 5.6
Tobe Hooper’s ”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is regarded by many as the greatest horror film of all time, and its sequel that came out a decade later is a terribly misunderstood film. This was the stage of insurgence for the horror-com genre, and TCM 2 savagely humorized the original and other torture movies of its time, and due to bad marketing, the viewers believed they were in for another 90 minutes of petrifying terror. A extremely childish Leatherface, the eccentric Hitchhiker and The Cook who’s tormented by both the financial condition of the country and the disgusting nature of his appetite.
1. To The Wonder (2012) – 5.9
I had been wanting to watch ‘To The Wonder’ for a long time and this topic provided me a solid incentive. The movie being a part of Terrence Malick’s 21st century filmography, is very polarizing and I believe it’s because the arthouse scenario today is not what it was during the time of Bergmans and Tarkovskys, with even critics opting for conclusive films. Malick is the last filmmaker from New Hollywood who still believes art is nothing but the reproduction of the artist’s vision. ‘To The Wonder’ is partly autobiographical, and by placing his cinematographer Lubezki in the epicenter of the onscreen action, thus presenting the viewers with an intimacy equivalent to sharing the same plane with his beings.
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